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Black History Month Events for Seattle-Area Families

20 ways to learn about and celebrate black history in 2020

Nancy Chaney

Published on: January 30, 2020

Image of Ryan Coogler and Danai Gurira on the set of the film "Black Panther," (2017) featured in "Men of Change. Power. Triumph. Truth." Credit: Matt Kennedy. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Marvel Studios and The Walt Disney Company, ©Marvel/Matt Kennedy

February is Black History Month, a time to dedicate attention to and seek understanding of the many contributions of black Americans to science, art, music, culture, human rights and more. Local libraries and other organizations invite families to take part in workshops, discussions and celebrations.

Be inspired with a visit to the Washington State History Museum to view the "Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth." exhibit. This moving and enlightening exhibits shines a light on well-known and lesser-known black leaders (ongoing).

Visit the Northwest African American Museum in the Central District, the historic center of Seattle's black community. Spend some time visiting the museum's genealogy center, or view the exhibit "Iconic Black Women: Ain’t I a Woman," honoring Black women history makers (ongoing).

Listen to Dr. Michelle H. Martin share stories about growing up as an African American girl in South Carolina. She will also share songs and stories inspired by African-American children’s books. Offered on two dates at two locations (Saturday, Feb. 1, 11 a.m.–noon, at the Kent Library; Sunday, Feb. 2, 1–2 p.m., at the Redmond Library. Free and all ages).

Sing and chant along while listening to African-American folktales told by talented storyteller Debra Harris-Branham. Offered at multiple libraries on multiple dates (Saturday, Feb. 1, 3–4 p.m., at the Kent Library; Saturday, Feb. 8, 1–2 p.m., at the Kent Panther Lake Library; Thursday, Feb. 20, 10–11 a.m., at the Issaquah Library; Friday, Feb. 21, 10:15–11:15 a.m., at the Duvall Library; Sunday, Feb. 23, 1:30–2:30 p.m., at the Redmond Library. Free and all ages).

Join Shoreline Public Schools and the City of Shoreline in a discussion about how we teach black history in schools with Seattle Public Schools teacher Jesse Hagopian and Shoreline Schools Equity and Family Engagement Director, Dr. Tanisha Brandon-Felder (Monday, Feb. 3, 6–7:30 p.m. Free; intended for teens and adults).

Join local artist Michael Maine for a discussion with one of the subjects of his portrait and mini-bio series that celebrates past, present and future black history (Thursday, Feb. 6, 7–9 p.m.; free; teens and adults).

Gather at SAM for Kijiji Night, featuring music, storytelling, poetry and more celebrating Black History Month (Thursday, Feb. 6, 5–9 p.m.; free; all ages).

Experience a full spectrum of African-American history at the Karshner Museum’s Black History Month Festival. Enjoy dance and musical performances, art projects, a drum circle and more (Saturday, Feb. 8, noon–5 p.m. Free and all ages).

This African-American storytelling performance includes a Rosa Parks dramatization and a tribute to MLK (Saturday, Feb. 8, noon–12:45 p.m. Free, ages 5 and older with families).

Sit down with the Seattle Opera for a discussion about "Charlie Parker's Yardbird" and the process of blending jazz and opera (Tuesday, Feb. 11, 7–8:30 p.m. Free; teens and adults).

Seattle Opera also hosts a community conversation about black representation in the arts (Thursday, Feb. 13, 7–8:30 p.m. Free; intended for teens and adults).

The Woodinville Library hosts a screening of "Toni Morrison – The Pieces I Am," a documentary about the acclaimed novelist which explores race and the human condition in America (Saturday, Feb. 15, 2–4 p.m. Free).

Watch the story of activist Mary Church Terrell, the daughter of formerly enslaved parents, come to life in a live performance by Eva Abram (Saturday, Feb. 15, 2–2:45 p.m. Free; ages 9 and older).

Join musician Charles Lambert at the piano for a live performance and learn a thing or two about the history of Jazz through the music of Louis Armstrong, Quincy Jones, Dizzy Gillespie and Herbie Hancock (Thursday, Feb. 20, 7–8 p.m.; Free; all ages).

Head to MoPop for its 6th annual Black History Month celebration. Explore the history and importance of black comedy with this year's program called A Salute to Black Comedy (Friday, Feb. 21, 7–11 p.m. $6–$15). 

Bring your imagination and inspiration to a Black History Month-focused art-making session at the Renton Highlands Library; all supplies provided (Friday, Feb. 21, 4:30–5:30 p.m. Free; all ages).

Tacoma's Peoples Community Center invites everyone to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of African-Americans through spoken word, performances, arts and crafts and more (Friday, Feb. 21, 6–8 p.m. Free, all ages).

Live performance and historic film clips combine at MOHAI's Living Voices presentations. This month learn about a student's experience fighting for civil rights in Mississippi in the 1950s and '60s (Saturday, Feb. 22, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. presentations. Included with museum admission; intended for ages 12 and older with families).

Tweens and teens are invited to join Black Stax for a journey through the history of Northwest hip hop and learn how to use their own voices for self-expression and social justice (Saturday, Feb. 22, 2–4 p.m. Free; tweens and teens).

The Van Asselt Community Center invites the community to celebrate the vast and varied contributions and accomplishments of African Americans to the nation and the world (Friday, Feb. 28, 6–7 p.m. Free; donations welcome, all ages).

More Black History Month ideas

Try this Black History Month scavenger hunt around Seattle from Kids and Race.

Check out these 10 books that celebrate Black History Month all year long.

Read about how a mom's punishment of her daughter led to a deep dive into one element of Black history.

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